Thursday, April 07, 2005

Opening Series in Review

John Smoltz allowed seven runs in less than two innings in his return to the Atlanta rotation. The living legend that is Mariano Rivera blew two saves in his first two opportunities. Detroit's Dmitri Young jacked three homers in an Opening Day win for the Tigers. There were a lot of surprises around the Majors in the first three days of regular season competition, but we saw very few from the Twins in their series win over the Seattle Mariners. The Twins won the series by doing the things they typically do to win. Got good pitching, especially from the bullpen, had some excellent defensive plays, and got enough situational hits to squeeze by. Just a few notes from the series:

-As anticipated, there were some ugly errors in the infield, a result of a lack of experience, but there were also some sensational plays from guys like Luis Rivas and Jacque Jones.

-Justin Morneau continued a streak of really bad luck by getting drilled hard in the head on a fastball that got away from Ron Villone, but X-rays came up negative for concussion or fracture so he should be ready to go this weekend.

-Torii Hunter and Lew Ford need to have better at-bats, especially against lefties.

-Brad Radke pitched a typical Radke came. Worked the strike-zone effectively and got outs, but threw a few bad pitches. Brad is going to give up a few big hits in almost every start, the difference is whether or not there are guys on base. If those would've been solo shots by Sexson, it would've been a 2-1 loss and people would've been bitching about another tough loss for Radke due to a lack of run support. Granted, it's not anyone else's fault that those guys were on base, but it's just something to think about.

-Johan Santana had an ugly first inning on Tuesday, but cruised for the next four and picked up his first victory of the season. Hey, last year it took the guy almost half the season to get going and he won 20 games; if it takes him one inning this year, I'll take it.

-Carlos Silva looked a lot better than I expected him too. His fastball was sinking and he was getting people to pound the ball right into the ground. He lives by the double-play, and he got a few on Wednesday. If that can keep up for the rest of the season, he could easily get his ERA under 4.00 this year.

Tomorrow the Twins open their home schedule against the hated Chicago White Sox. The Sox were impressive in their opening series against the Cleveland Indians, who many anticipate will hang right with the Twins at the top of the Central division, so it should be interesting to see how we handle Chicago.